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THE CHALLENGE: UNREST IN HAITI
During the past several weeks, Haiti has experienced extreme civil unrest. Inflation rates of over 20%, gas shortages, governmental insubordination, and high unemployment rates pushed the Haitian populous to revolt under this extreme pressure. The resulting roadblocks and marches have made it extremely difficult and sometimes impossible for the staff of the hospital to be able to find a passable road or any vehicle with enough gasoline to make it to work. When they arrive at the hospital facility, they are greeted with shortages of diesel fuel for the generator-derived electricity, shortages of medicine and supplies, and a diminished patient base, as those who are ill often cannot find a safe passage to the hospital. Unfortunately, this is the challenge facing nearly all hospitals and businesses in Haiti.
The Challenge: Decreased Patient Numbers
The business model that Mission Haiti Medical (MHM) and Hôpital L’Eglise de Dieu Réformée (HEDR) have adopted serves to foster a cooperative venture between the two entities. Even though patient fees do not cover the monthly operating expenses, we (MHM and HEDR) feel that each patient, if at all possible, needs to share in the ownership of his/her medical care. With these fees, HEDR has claimed responsibility for 40% of monthly operating capital over the last several years. With the inability of patients to access the hospital or funds during this time of unrest, this 40% of monthly income has nearly disappeared.
Rising to the Challenge: The Hospital Staff and the MHM Board
Just as the Haitian civil unrest was beginning the MHM board was completing a four-day meeting at the hospital in Haiti. Evaluation of the HEDR facility, meetings with the chief of each hospital department, and conversations with many hospital staff members enlightened the board and gave them a new appreciation for the challenges that exist and for the successes attained. Although the scope of the current unrest could not have been predicted, they left better equipped to support the patients and the staff, and with a better understanding of how to improve both patient care and the hospital facility in times of crisis and beyond. The board also grew to appreciate the high quality of the staff at the hospital and how they continue to rise to and overcome so many challenges to care and minister to the patients at HEDR.
Rising to the Challenge: You
As we look forward to open roads and the ability to once again aid those who are in need of the hospital’s services, we need to compensate for the deficit incurred for the months when patients were unable to access care. The 40% per month that was not able to be accessed from patient fees was compensated from funds that were to be used for improvements for staffing and other basic hospital functions. Prayers, encouragement, and fiscal support are all needed to return us to where we began when “things unraveled” in the streets of Haiti.
Rising to the Challenge: God Always Does
During this current challenge in Haiti and from the beginning of Genesis, no challenge has ever been bigger than our God! We celebrate this fact and continue with faith and hope as we look beyond this time of upheaval to a time when once again we can move forward.